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Monday, October 06, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday October 6 2008 - (813)

Monday October 6 2008 edition
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Voter Registration Gains Favor Democrats
2008-10-06 03:22:21

As the deadline for voter registration arrives Monday in many states, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is poised to benefit from a wave of newcomers to the rolls in key states in numbers that far outweigh any gains made by Republicans.

In the past year, the rolls have expanded by about 4 million voters in a dozen key states - 11 Obama targets that were carried by George W. Bush in 2004 (Ohio, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico) plus Pennsylvania, the largest state carried by Sen. John F. Kerry that Sen. John McCain is targeting.

In Florida, Democratic registration gains this year are more than double those made by Republicans; in Colorado and Nevada the ratio is 4 to 1, and in North Carolina it is 6 to 1. Even in states with nonpartisan registration, the trend is clear - of the 310,000 new voters in Virginia, a disproportionate share live in Democratic strongholds.

Republicans acknowledge the challenge but say Obama still has to prove he can get the new voters to the polls.

"The machine that has been put in place by the Democrats is effective. They have a lot of people holding clipboards," said Brian K. Krolicki (R) , the lieutenant governor of Nevada; adding, "There's a difference between successful registration and a groundswell. It's mechanics versus momentum."

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Commentary: Whisper It - This Election Will Be Decided On The Issues
2008-10-06 03:21:44
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Michael Tomasky, editor of Guardian America, writing from Washington, D.C., and appeared in the Guardian edition for Monday, October 6, 2008.

America is a country in decline. And that means substance really matters to voters, which is very bad news for Republicans.

Pssst. Don't spread it around too much, because there's still a month to go and I don't want to jinx things - but substance is in this year. You, I know, think U.S. presidential elections are always decided by silly or superficial or out-and-out false representations and aspersions. Al Gore sighed too much in a debate and wasn't the sort of fellow you'd like to have a beer with. George W. Bush never sighed once, as far as anyone could tell, and was the sort you'd like to have a beer with (even though he didn't drink beer - I never quite sorted that one out). John Kerry seemed so French and effete. He windsurfed. And he didn't save all those men during the Vietnam war. How could he have, really, being so ... French and effete and windsurfy?

Little glimmers of substance have usually shown through. In 2004, for instance, a still-significant percentage of American voters remained jittery about a second large-scale terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Bush ran as the man who had prevented that from happening and argued that he was more trustworthy on this matter than Kerry. And Bill Clinton withstood an intensive barrage of over-the-top attacks and stayed focused on the economy (he was helped along by third-party candidate Ross Perot's hefty 19% of the vote).

Superficialities and attacks, though, usually dominate. We understand this. In fact, more than a few liberals have spent the last four years trying to persuade Democrats to be every bit as superficial and nasty as the Republicans are at election time. But this year, something feels different. Voters are actually paying closer attention to issues.

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British Treasury Under Pressure To Guarantee Bank Depositors' Savings
2008-10-06 03:21:03

The British Treasury was under pressure Sunday night to guarantee the savings of all depositors in British banks after Germany announced it was following the lead of Ireland and Greece and offering a blanket guarantee on all savings - currently worth 568 billion euros (£440 billion or $880 billion). Late Sunday night Denmark followed suit.

Britain had just agreed to raise its maximum level from £35,000 to £50,000 ($70,000 - $100,000), but may now need to take more radical steps to avoid a flight of savings.

British officials were furious with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. They said she gave no indication of the move at a summit in Paris on Saturday designed to coordinate a European response to the economic crisis. Britain's  Treasury was Sunday night trying to establish the implications of the German move.

Speaking of the decision by the Greek and Irish governments to offer blanket guarantees, Britain's new business secretary, Peter Mandelson, said Sunday: "It would be better while operating on a country by country basis, we did so in a coordinated way and we brought a collective European view. We are all interlocked. We are in this together."

Denmark later guaranteed all bank deposits as part of a deal with banks to set up a £3.6 billion ($7.2 billion)  liquidation fund.

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Treasury Secretary Paulson Taps Aide To Oversee Rescue
2008-10-06 03:19:50
The U.S. Treasury Department plans to tap Neel Kashkari, an assistant secretary of international affairs and a former Goldman Sachs banker, to oversee the government's $700 billion financial rescue program, sources familiar with the situation said Sunday.

Kashkari has been a close adviser to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., on the credit crisis and helped draft the legislation for the massive rescue plan. He is expected to run the program on an interim basis until the Treasury finds a permanent head, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment. Kashkari's replacement would stay on after the next administration takes office in January.

Treasury Monday will begin the hiring process for five to 10 asset managers and release guidelines for how it will manage conflicts of interests for contractors who work for the program, the sources said. Officials, however, do not expect the purchase of assets to start until at least the middle of November.

Under the program, the Treasury will buy troubled assets from financial institutions, many of which have large holdings in mortgage-related securities.

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Analysis: America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role
2008-10-05 17:46:11
The banking crisis is upending American dominance of the financial markets and world politics. The industrialized countries are sliding into recession, the era of turbo-capitalism is coming to an end and U.S. military might is ebbing. Still, this is no time to gloat.

There are days when all it takes is a single speech to illustrate the decline of a world power. A face can speak volumes, as can the speaker's tone of voice, the speech itself or the audience's reaction. Kings and queens have clung to the past before and humiliated themselves in public, but this time it was merely a United States president.

Or what is left of him.

George W. Bush has grown old, erratic and rosy in the eight years of his presidency. Little remains of his combativeness or his enthusiasm for physical fitness. On this sunny Tuesday morning in New York, even his hair seemed messy and unkempt, his blue suit a little baggy around the shoulders, as Bush stepped onto the stage, for the eighth time, at the United Nations General Assembly.

He talked about terrorism and terrorist regimes, and about governments that allegedly support terror. He failed to notice that the delegates sitting in front of and below him were shaking their heads, smiling and whispering, or if he did notice, he was no longer capable of reacting. The U.S. president gave a speech similar to the ones he gave in 2004 and 2007, mentioning the word "terror" 32 times in 22 minutes. At the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations, George W. Bush was the only one still talking about terror and not about the topic that currently has the rest of the world's attention.

"Absurd, absurd, absurd," said one German diplomat. A French woman called him "yesterday's man" over coffee on the East River. There is another way to put it, too: Bush was a laughing stock in the gray corridors of the U.N.

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Judge Blocks Wells Fargo Takeover Of Wachovia
2008-10-05 17:45:13
A judge has temporarily blocked Wells Fargo & Co.'s eleventh-hour takeover of Wachovia Corp., allowing Citigroup Inc. to argue that its offer for the troubled North Carolina bank should prevail.

Ruling late Saturday, Judge Charles Ramos in New York state court put the Wells-Wachovia deal on hold until a hearing this week. Ramos ruled over objections from Wachovia, which accepted Wells Fargo's $7-a-share offer Friday for the entire bank, brushing off Citigroup's earlier agreement in principle to buy most of Wachovia's operations for $1 a share.

In a statement e-mailed to the Los Angeles Times Sunday, Wachovia indicated it would continue to stand by the Wells Fargo deal - unless a better proposal emerged.

"Wachovia believes its agreement with Wells Fargo is proper, valid and is in the best interest of shareholders, employees and the American taxpayers," it said. "Under that agreement, Citigroup is always free to make a superior offer to Wachovia."

The dispute clouds the outcome of one of the hasty shotgun marriages imposed by the Federal Reserve and bank regulators, who say they are acting to prevent a meltdown of the U.S. financial system.

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Britain's Most Senior Commander: We Can't Win Taliban War
2008-10-05 01:48:49

The public should not expect "a decisive military victory" in Afghanistan, Britain's most senior military commander in the country has warned.

Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the aim was to reduce the uprising to a level at which it could be managed by the Afghan army - and made clear that this could involve talking to the Taliban.

It was necessary to "lower our expectations" and accept that it would be unrealistic to expect that multinational forces can entirely rid Afghanistan of armed bands, he suggested.

Brig. Carleton-Smith, the commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which has just completed its second tour of Afghanistan, told the Sunday Times that his forces had "taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008".

But he added: "We're not going to win this war. It's about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that's not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army.

"We may well leave with there still being a low but steady ebb of rural insurgency."

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Britain's Rivers Could Run Dry
2008-10-05 01:48:18
Flows In Severn and Mersey rivers might drop by up to 80 percent by 2050, warn climate experts.

Britain's rivers could nearly run dry because long hot summers caused by global warming will not be sufficiently compensated by wetter winters, researchers predict. It is a scenario that would endanger wildlife and send household water bills soaring.

Flows in the Mersey and Severn are likely to be reduced in summer by up to 80 per cent by 2050, according to a study by the Environment Agency. The Thames's flow is likely to decline by up to 50 per cent during the same period.

It had been hoped that, as global warming leads to more extreme seasons, summer droughts would be offset by an increase in winter rainfall. However, while wetter winters are expected, they will not be damp enough to make up for the lack of rain during the hotter summers.

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Warning On Frozen Chicken Dinners As Salmonella Sickens People In 12 States
2008-10-05 01:47:27
The government is urging consumers to thoroughly cook frozen chicken dinners after 32 people in 12 states were sickened with salmonella poisoning.

The health warning by the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited frozen dishes in which the chicken is raw, but breaded or pre-browned, giving the appearance of being cooked. They include "chicken cordon bleu," "chicken Kiev," or chicken breasts stuffed with cheese, vegetables or other items.

USDA said many of the people who became ill apparently did not follow the package's cooking instructions and microwaved the chicken dishes even though the instructions did not provide for it. Microwaving didn't heat the meals enough to kill the salmonella.

The department said consumers should cook chicken products to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service issued the warning Friday after Minnesota health officials found a link between the chicken dinners with salmonella illnesses reported in Minnesota and 11 other states. It did not name the states in its release, and did not immediately respond to a message left at its press office Saturday seeking that information.

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Bank Of America Settles Lawsuit Over Bad Mortgages
2008-10-06 03:22:08
Facing a lawsuit over deceptive mortgage practices, a Bank of America Corp. subsidiary has agreed to modify tens of thousands of loans to keep people in 11 states from losing their homes, the Illinois attorney general's office said Sunday.

Borrowers stuck with Countrywide Financial mortgages that they can't afford could see their interest rates reduced or have the loan principal cut. Some might qualify for having to pay nothing but interest for a decade. Even people who can't afford to keep their homes with such changes will be able to get help moving to a new home.

"This is going to provide a tremendous amount of relief," said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Her office and officials from California negotiated the settlement. Nine other states have also joined the settlement, and other states could sign on, said Deborah Hagan, chief of Madigan's Consumer Protection Division.

If all 50 states were to join, the settlement could provide $8.7 billion in relief to 400,000 borrowers, said Hagan.

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Unilever Comes Out Against Worldwide Rush To Biofuels
2008-10-06 03:21:25

Unilever, the food and consumer goods group, has thrown its weight behind moves to scrap mandatory biofuel targets and subsidies. It is backing recommendations being made Monday to Commonwealth finance ministers at their annual meeting in St. Lucia to improve food security and prevent famine.

Unilever is concerned that subsidies for biofuels are driving up food prices and the cost of its products. The group is a member of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), which is presenting the recommendations to the ministers. The CBC is chaired by Paul Skinner, chairman of the mining group Rio Tinto; other members include the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and John Studzinski, of the private equity firm Blackstone.

If ministers adopt the recommendations, the CBC hopes that they will lobby their counterparts for curbs on biofuels at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank summits in Washington later in the week.

Mohan Kaul, director general of the CBC, said: "This would be the first major world signal to stop the current rush to produce energy from biofuels that has impacted on food, security and prices."

It is also the first time that a major conglomerate such as Unilever has voiced its opposition.

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Palin Pulls Terrorist Card On Obama
2008-10-06 03:20:06
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin accused Democratic candidate Barack Obama over the weekend of “palling around with terrorists,” in the latest sign the U.S. election campaign is turning increasingly nasty.

The comment by Palin refers to Bill Ayers, a founding member of the radical leftist terrorist group Weather Underground, which was involved in a string of mostly nonfatal bombings in the late 60s and early 70s, mainly in protest of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Obama was eight years old at the time of Ayers’ radicalism, but the paths of the two men - who both have become prominent figures in the Chicago area - have crossed on a few occasions in recent years.

The Obama campaign quickly dismissed Palin’s comment as “gutter politics.”

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In Spite Of Bailout, No Rescue In Sight For Ailing U.S. Economy
2008-10-05 17:46:27
Even if the financial bailout plan works, the economy faces troubles too pervasive and entrenched to be solved any time soon, say analysts.

While Americans have spent the last month transfixed by the spectacle of one financial giant after another crashing to the ground, the rest of the U.S. economy has been sinking in the muck.

By now, the process is so far advanced that, even after passage of the Bush administration's $700-billion financial rescue plan Friday, the nation's economic options span the unappealing gamut from bad to worse.

"The wheels seem to be coming off the economy right now," said Brian P. Sack, vice president of the respected forecasting firm of Macroeconomic Advisers. "It's hard to see how we avoid a recession, and it could prove a tough one to climb out of."

Even if the financial bailout plan begins to work, the nation will be lucky if all it experiences is a bad slowdown. The alternative, economists say, is something much worse - a contraction that might go on for years.

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Russia And Ukraine Jockey In The Black Sea
2008-10-05 17:45:33
The naval fleets of Russia and Ukraine share the port at Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Some in Russia would like the Ukrainian city to return to the Russian fold. Many fear that a spark here could quickly lead to a larger conflagration.

It is early morning deep inside the missile cruiser Moskva, where the heat and the stench of diesel fuel are the most oppressive, as the lower ranks emerge from their five-bed cabins. Below decks, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet feels like a prison tract with cell walls made of gray-painted steel.

The sailors march up the stairs for morning roll call. At 7:43 a.m. sharp, officers and seamen stand at attention on the upper deck, in rows three deep, between cigar-shaped missile shafts and launching pads for anti-aircraft missiles, while the division commander inspects the formation. "We salute the Comrade Rear Admiral," the troops shout. The commanding officer replies: "At ease."

Here on Quay 14 in Sevastopol's Holland Harbor, the Russian navy is ready for battle once again, at least judging by what Rear Admiral Andrei Baranov, the deputy commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, has to say. The recent operation in Georgian waters was a brief act of "self-defense," says Baranov, adding that additional combat missions are not on the agenda at this point. Nevertheless, he is quick to add, the Black Sea has undoubtedly become a "hot spot", and "we are, of course, obligated to protect our citizens in case of emergency."

The rear admiral chooses precisely the same words Moscow used to justify its August combat operations in Georgia. According to the Russians, citizens in the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, who had been issued Russian passports beforehand, required "protection" against Georgian aggression. In the port city of Sevastopol, on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, the situation is more complex. Close to three-quarters of the city's residents and about half of the Crimean population are ethnic Russians, but most are Ukrainian citizens.

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European Leaders Reject Joint Strategy On Banks
2008-10-05 01:49:04
The leaders of Europe's four largest economic powers vowed Saturday to protect their banks from the continuing reverberations of the increasingly global financial crisis but could not agree on a common Europe-wide strategy.

Unlike the United States, which last week committed $700 billion in government money to shoring up Wall Street,  Europe plans to continue dealing with its financial problems on a case-by-case basis. That approach, which has involved tens of billions of dollars at a step, is complicated by the transnational presence of so many large European financial institutions.

The European leaders did call for a global economic summit by year's end aimed at revamping the international financial system, which is a legacy of a conference held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the waning months of World War II.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Europe's most vocal advocate of a continent-wide response, announced that for now, he and the leaders of Britain, Germany and Italy agreed in four hours of discussions only that each country would use "its own means" to safeguard banks from collapse but would do so "in a coordinated way."

The outcome seemed to fall well short of the common policy that French and other officials had spoken of in recent days amid a rapid series of financial failures and a freezing up of the capital markets in Europe, which rival or by some measures exceed the size of the U.S. markets. The disunity in Europe also was apparent in complaints by some other countries that they were not even included in the discussion.

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Iceland On Brink Of Collapse As Inflation, Interest Rates Soar
2008-10-05 01:48:38
Almost overnight, its population became the wealthiest on Earth. Now, the credit crunch is making Iceland's cash disappear.

The snow has arrived early in Reykjavik after an unusually long and warm summer. The freeze has brought out the ghostly green haze of the aurora borealis - the Northern Lights - the shape of which shifts dramatically across the tiny city's black skies.

The bars and restaurants of Iceland's capital are packed, the Range Rovers and BMWs are parked nose to tail all along the streets of the central 101 district, and music is pumping from a black stretch Hummer limousine cruising by.

"What can we do? Its difficult times but we've spent all day talking about it, watching the news getting worse and worse. We had to go out and be with friends. Maybe it's like the party at the end of the world," says Egill Tomasson, 32, sitting in the Kaffeebarinn bar.

Iceland is on the brink of collapse. Inflation and interest rates are raging upwards. The krona, Iceland's currency, is in freefall and is rated just above those of Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan. One of the country's three independent banks has been nationalized, another is asking customers for money, and the discredited government and officials from the central bank have been huddled behind closed doors for three days with still no sign of a plan. International banks won't send any more money and supplies of foreign currency are running out.

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Europe Calls For Global Summit On Bank Crisis
2008-10-05 01:48:01
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other European Union leaders called Saturday night for a global economic summit to "rebuild the world's financial system" as they held emergency talks on how to prevent a repeat of the current international credit crisis.

At a hastily convened meeting in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the heads of the European Union's four biggest economies - Germany, France, the U.K. and Italy - were united on the need to call all leading economic nations together to create "a new financial world just as Bretton Woods did 60 years ago".

The summit, planned for next month, is expected to include the G8 leading industrial nations, as well as India, China, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. Sarkozy, who called last night's meeting in his role as E.U. President, said it was time for governments to clamp down on speculators and restore a moral element to the heart of a regime that had failed.

"We need to literally rebuild the international financial system. We want to lay the foundations of entrepreneurial capitalism, not speculative capitalism," he said.

As part of a rolling program of announcements, the E.U.'s "big four" agreed to release £12 billion ($24 billion) of emergency aid to ailing small businesses across the E.U. immediately, and a further £12 billion as soon as possible after that. The European Investment Bank had said the money would be released gradually over the next four years.

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Crisis In Zimbabwe As Food Runs Out
2008-10-05 01:46:49
As President Mugabe and opposition MDC leaders wrangle over cabinet appointments, millions face starvation in a catastrophe created by economic chaos and the dramatic collapse of commercial farms.

Six months after the elections, Zimbabwe still lacks a functioning government and is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Following the worst wheat harvest since the independence war, bread has run out and sugar supplies are set to follow. USAID, the American government humanitarian agency, is warning that the country could run out of the maize, the staple food, by next month. Farming officials say the government's stated aim of producing maize on 500,000 hectares this season is unattainable.

"We are in serious trouble," said Jabulani Gwaringa, of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU), which represents small-scale operators. "There is no seed, fertilizer and crop chemicals on the market. Banks are not offering farmers any credit. In July we had produced about 25,000 metric tons of seed maize. We are down to 9,000 because farmers opted to eat their hybrid seed or sell it to millers."

One European diplomat said: "We are already hearing isolated reports of child deaths from hunger." In the poorest provinces, such as Matabeleland North, subsistence farmers have begun bartering their livestock for maize: one cow buys six buckets of maize, while four live chickens or a goat buy one bucket.

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Blogger Remind Myself said...


Recently an insurance company nearly wind up....

A bank is nearly bankrupt......filing chapter 11 protection.

How it affect you? Did you buy insurance? Did you buy mini note or bonds?

Who fault?

They bailout trouble finance company, but they will not bail out your credit card bills……You got no choice, and no point pointing finger but you can prevent similar things from happen again……

The top management of the Public listed company ( belong to "public" ) salary should be tied a portion of it to the shares price ( IPO or ave 5 years ).... so when the shares price drop, it don't just penalise the investors, but those who don't take care of the company.....If this rule is pass on, without any need of further regulation, all industries ( as long as it is public listed ) will be self regulated......because the top management will be concern about their own pay check……
Some might feel that it sound stupid….. as there is long and Short position…but in reality there is still many different caliber CEO… there is still long and short…..They can ban short selling definitely they can do something about this.......

Are you a partisan?

Sign a petition to your favourite president candidate, congress member, House of representative again and ask for their views to comment on this, and what regulations they are going to raise for implementation.....If you agree on my point, please share with many people as possible.... Finance and Media are the two only industries can shaken politics ( Maybe Hackers can ), please help to highlight also...

5:12 AM  

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